Tech’s golden party boy, who was once portrayed by a mugging Justin Timberlake, has hit a wall with his new startup, Airtime. Sean Parker, (in)famous for cofounding Napster, serving as the first president of Facebook and as a Spotify board member, opened up to AllThingsD about the struggles the video chat service has experienced since its star-studded launch in June.
There were perhaps 100 print, online and TV reporters drinking coffee and eating parfait at the press event in Chelsea last week. Media from Bloomberg, CNN, the Associated Press and the New York Times down to GigaOM, Business Insider and BuzzFeed were there for more than an hour watching a mini-parade of celebrities take the stage. Now that Airtime has been out for a week, we can assess the results of that massive press push.
Airtime, the Sean & Shawn bred startup that launched earlier this week, has slowly grown on us. Our initial reaction was in line with the majority of the Internet’s: “Okay, it’s Chatroulette without penises.” But the more we’ve used the service, the more its benefits for networking, flirting and stymying boredom have revealed themselves.
But the thing is, since the site hasn’t really hit critical mass yet, you tend to run into the same types of people over and over again. They’re almost always very nice, but in our experience, they also almost always fall into one of the below five categories.
Ready for Our Close Up
Forbes freaked out your Betabeat writers recently with an alarmist post about the way Sean & Shawn’s new videochatting service, Airtime, monitors the tool for inappropriate content. Apparently Airtime takes pictures of you sporadically throughout your videochat sessions to make sure there’s no sexy cam action going on (reserve that for “off the record” Gchats, plz).
But the post got us wondering: what are some other issues–privacy-related or not–that you should be wary of when using Airtime? Here are a few we came up with.
Expectations were starting to flag as a scrum of reporters stood in a milk-white waiting room waiting for Airtime to fix a few last-minute bugs. “Sean is freaking out,” we overheard one Airtimer confide. (Or was it Shawn?) But media were ushered in just after 10:30, and when latenight talk show host Jimmy Fallon ran onstage to rock music to introduce us all to the “live social video platform,” we knew we were in for a show. “Tell me how you guys met,” Mr. Fallon asked Airtime cofounders Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker. The audience’s terrible, frenzied applause was just getting started.
Airtime, the super stealth video startup from Napster cofounders Sean Parker and Shawn Fanning, is launching at a press event this morning at Milk Studios in NYC, and celebrities on Twitter are apparently really, really excited about it. It’s perhaps unsurprising, though, considering the company that Shawn & Sean are used to keeping: Airtime’s investors include Ashton Kutcher, will.i.am and Justin Bieber’s manager Scooter Braun. But who knew Martha Stewart was so plugged in to the startup scene? Perhaps Nick Bilton was right about tech being the new Hollywood.
We, too, are looking forward to the launch of Airtime, but could Sean & Shawn maybe fix their website first?